All babies and children experience the occasional stuffy nose. It tends to come and go within a week and can often be related to illness. Chronic nasal congestion on the other hand, lingers – and can be caused by factors such as diet and environment. Read on to learn more about this common childhood ailment – and our best advice for treatment and prevention.
By Dr. Annie Salsberg, ND
What is it?
Nasal congestion, often referred to as a stuffy or blocked nose, is the result of a blockage in the nasal passages that typically arises from swelling or mucus. Chronic congestion (rhinitis) refers to the inflammation of the mucus membrane inside of the nose and is one of the most common causes of nasal congestion in children.
What are the symptoms?
Nasal congestion is associated with a stuffy or blocked nose; a runny nose, sneezing, and post-nasal drip. In some children, there may also be itching in the nose, eyes or throat.
What are the causes?
Inflammation and mucus production in the nasal passages is the result of irritation. Acute nasal congestion is typically associated with irritation from a respiratory infection and congestion that is seasonal may be the result of an environmental trigger, as in hay fever.
Chronic nasal congestion may be the result of a dietary trigger – food allergy or sensitivity may lead to inflammation in the nasal passage. Cow milk sensitivity is a dietary trigger that may lead to nasal congestion in some children.
Chronic nasal congestion may also be the result of environmental irritants such as dust or mold.
What are the solutions?
The treatment of chronic nasal congestion depends on the underlying cause. To ease uncomfortable symptoms, a nasal aspirator or bulb syringe may be useful for removing mucus from a blocked nose. Some parents also find that a saline nasal spray is effective for clearing the nose and flushing out environmental irritants. A cool mist vaporizer may also help to moisten airways and loosen dry mucus.
Parents are often told children will “just grow out” of uncomfortable symptoms – but there are often many factors we can examine to help them feel better. Identifying and eliminating environmental and/or dietary irritants is critical.
For example, removing dietary triggers, such as cow milk, may ease chronic nasal congestion for some children. A useful starting point is to keep a 7-day diet diary in order to see a potential relationship between food intake and stuffy nose symptoms. If cow milk appears to be a trigger, consider swapping it out for naturally easy to digest KABRITA Goat Milk Formula*.
If you’d like to see if KABRITA Goat Milk Formula* is right for your family, check out our Special Offer.
*Not suitable for children with cow milk protein allergy